Time to Get Rid of SIBO


SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a pesky problem, but it is treatable. You have options when it comes to treating SIBO — pharmaceutical antibiotics or herbal antibiotics. Research supports that herbal antibiotics are as effective as conventional, and they don’t require a prescription or a long wait to get an initial appointment with a gastroenterologist. [1]

After my breath test confirmed my suspicions, I moved forward with a treatment plan developed with my current naturopath and my research. My job now is to have patience as I move through what is now seven weeks of herbs. My symptoms of bloating have decreased substantially, as have my cravings and wheezing. Since I am stilling having bouts of bloating and gas, I am continuing for another week or until I run out of all my current supplements. Then I’ll retest with another lactulose breath test to confirm I’ve battled the SIBO critters into submission. After this kill phase, diet, prokinetics and stress management will be put into action — healing and rebalancing my small intestinal microbiome. That is when I’ll be addressing the migrating motor complex (MMC) and the interstitial cell of Cajal (ICC), which are thought to be the root of my motility dysfunction.

The road ahead is long from this perspective, but I will do whatever is needed to avoid reoccurrence. In fact, I may have found the root to my leaky gut and food-related asthma — SIBO! Reoccurrence is very high, if one doesn’t kill the bugs, make diet and lifestyle changes and add in a prokinectic. SIBO cannot be beat with antibiotics alone. Nor can SIBO be put into check with diet alone. Destroying SIBO and avoiding relapse requires a multi-phased and targeted approach to renew, rebalance and maintain a healthy microbiome. As Dr Allison Siebecker suggests, “For prevention, the two key, essential factors are some kind of reduced-carbohydrate diet of your choice, and a prokinetic.” [2]

What Is An Antibiotic Anyways?

Basically, an antibiotic is a drug used to treat bacterial infections. Pharmaceutical antibiotics prescribed by your friendly healthcare professional and filled by your local pharmacist is usually a chemical derivation of a natural antibiotic and usually that is a single compound or chemical. For instance, garlic has been used for its healing properties for millennia. “Garlic has over 33 sulphur compounds, 17 amino acids and a dozen other compounds.” [3] The various naturally occurring compounds work synergistically to produce favourable results with minimal side effects. And today, science and research supports garlic’s natural antibacterial properties. [4] [5] Ginger, allicin derived from garlic and goldenseal are three herbs often used in SIBO treatment.

SIBO Treatment — Choosing Herbal Antibiotics

If there are pharmaceutical antibiotics that successfully eradicate SIBO, why would you seek an herbal alternative? First off, your family doctor is unlikely to be on board to “treat” your SIBO. In fact, it is more likely he/she will refer you to a gastroenterologist, which means a lengthy wait for the initial consultation and time for the SIBO to continue to do its damage to the microvilli of your small intestine. Secondly, if you don’t already have intestinal permeability — leaky gut — then you most likely will, and it’s likely you will encounter systemic inflammation. So, I don’t know about you, but my decision was to get to “kill phase” and move into the healing and maintaining phases sooner rather than later. Thus I chose herbal antibiotics.

Why Use Herbal Antibiotics

  • generally herbs don’t cause antibiotic resistance
  • fewer potential side effects than the pharmaceuticals Rifaximin, Neomycin and Metronidazole that are used for treating SIBO (used “because they are non-systemic, meaning they mostly don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream and instead stay in the intestines, allowing them to kill bacteria residing in the intestines and not elsewhere”) [6]
  • research suggests herbals may be more effective — 46% versus 34%!
  • no prescription needed

DisclaimerAs I have said in the past, I’m a holistic nutritionist, who seeks answers for my own nutrition interests and knowledge.  I’m here to give you useful information, but only in the context of my real, human experience and research. I’m not anti-doctor nor anti-conventional (allopathic) medicine, but each has its time and a place.

Tweetable: #SIBO is treatable. Tweet!

My Individual SIBO Treatment Protocol

First 4 Weeks (Weeks 1-4)

  • Allimax (CLM Health —180mg capsules)
  • Berberine HCl (Bioclinic Naturals – 500mg caps) 
  • Amino NAC (Genestra Brands/Seroyal – 500mg caps) 
  • Liv Complex (Genestra Brands/Seroyal) 

Next 2 Weeks (Weeks 5-6)

  • CandiBactin-AR (Metagenics) 
  • Goldenseal (Signature Supplements – 5% goldenseal 200mg) 
  • Biocidin (Bio-Botanical Research – 400mg proprietary herbal blend)

Next 2 Weeks or Until All Symptoms Are Gone (Week 7+)

  • Use two herbal antibiotics and one biofilm disrupter

When I’ve completed this protocol in early September 2016, I’ll retest. Dr Siebecker emphasizes that retesting is important, as it lets you know if your SIBO is gone. [7] If a person retests and he/she is negative, meaning no SIBO gases are detected, but he/she still have symptoms, then you know some other condition is causing the symptoms and his/her condition. If you don’t test, you don’t know. Additionally, if the person retests and the numbers are lower but not negative for SIBO, then he/she knows that he/she needs to keep treating until SIBO is gone. Because the test demonstrates that the numbers are moving towards a negative result, you can see that the treatment protocol is being successful, but not done yet. Basically, you shouldn’t accept quitting your treatment plan until your lactulose test is negative.

So, I’m patiently moving toward my retest. I know my symptoms are receding, but the true test of the protocol will be in the numbers. Is my SIBO gone? Or close and needs more treatment? Time will tell.

What’s your next step?  Are you suffering from digestive issues?  Why not connect with Brenda at 403.801.5698 or email to schedule your free no-obligation Discovery Chat.  I know how difficult this journey to wellness is because I’m still on it.  Let’s talk.


[1] Chedid, V., S. Dhalla, and JO Clark. “Herbal Therapy Is Equivalent to Rifaximin for the Treatment of Small Intes- tinal Bacterial Overgrowth.” National Center for Biotech- nology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 3 May 2014. Pub Med

[2] Digestion Sessions with Sean Croxton – Interview with Allison Siebecker, ND. http://digestionsessions.com/order/

[3] Laurie Neverman, “Herbal Antibiotics,” Common Sense Homesteading blog. November 1, 2012 http://commonsensehome.com/herbal-antibiotics/

[4] JC Harris, SL Cottrell and D Lloyd, “Antimicrobial properties of Allium sativum (garlic),” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Journal. 2001 Oct;57(3):282-6. Pub Med

[5] Chester J. Cavallito and John Hays Bailey, “Allicin, the Antibacterial Principle of Allium sativum. I. Isolation, Physical Properties and Antibacterial Action,” Journal of the American Chemical Society 1944 66 (11), 1950-1951. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja01239a048

[6] Sylvie McCracken, “Treating SIBO (Part 7): Antibiotics for SIBO,” http://www.hollywoodhomestead.com/antibiotics-for-sibo/

[7] Digestion Sessions – Siebecker Interview

About Brenda

As a nutrition consultant and educator, I aim to support you in achieving health and vitality through natural wholesome foods and lifestyle transformation. Ready to change yourself from the inside out? Then contact Brenda today.